New 3D printing technology for building construction, by Contour Crafting, has won the Create the Future Design Contest. The contest was launched over a decade ago by the publishers of NASA Tech Briefs, to encourage and honor innovation from engineers, students, and entrepreneurs.
The new large-scale 3D printing technology, or “robotic building construction”, is able to print whole buildings, including houses, efficiently and much more quickly than conventional construction methods.
To begin with, it is envisaged that the technology could be useful in areas where there has been a recent natural disaster, for emergency shelter and housing. However, the potential of this technology to go well beyond that is obvious. In future years, this has the potential to revolutionise how buildings are constructed worldwide.
The walls of each building structure are created by the robot from a paste-like material that is similar to concrete. Many different forms can be created, including complex curved designs – something that tends to increase costs dramatically in conventional building construction.
It’s going to be very interesting to see where this technology leads over the next decade or so.